Paris city office will test plug-in hybrid vehicles

On Friday, March 18, 2011, Toyota and EDF handed the keys of three Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHV) to the City of Paris. During the next three years, these vehicles will be used by various departments of the City Office to validate the relevance and performance of this technology among the sustainable mobility solutions used in the French capital.

For Toyota and EDF, this new partnership with the City of Paris is in the context of a large-scale demonstration project of the PHV technology and its charging infrastructure, which already includes more than 100 PHVs in France, and a dedicated charging infrastructure.

This project, launched in spring 2010 with the Urban Community of Strasbourg, received support from the Research Fund managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME.For Toyota, the PHV demonstration program in France is part of a global project involving 600 Prius Plug-in Hybrids, also deployed in Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia and in 17 other European countries.

The objective of Toyota is to accelerate the study of the PHV technology and performance. The EDF-Toyota partnership was established to Europe with road tests of PHVs in France in the autumn of 2007 and then extended to the UK in 2008. The large-scale demonstration conducted in France with the financial support of ADEME will provide in-depth feedback on the extent of drivers' acceptance of this new automobile concept in preparation for its upcoming mass-market introduction.

For EDF, this is to evaluate different solutions for operational infrastructure support. Users will be able to recharge their cars using the charging points installed by Sodetrel (100% subsidiary of EDF) on different sites of the city transportation services (“Transports Automobiles Municipaux”).

To travel in Paris and its suburbs, users will have access to the charging points installed by the City of Paris on public roads and in public car parks (between 150 and 200 in total).

For ADEME, this project is part of its "research demonstrators" programme launched in 2008, whose purpose is to test future technologies allowing the reduction of greenhouse gases. The automotive industry faces major challenges, requiring alternatives to conventional internal combustion engines. This programme is one of eleven projects selected in a call for interest in the Demonstrators Fund on low-emission vehicles launched by ADEME in 2008.

This experiment in real-world conditions lead by Toyota and EDF is essential to validate not only the feasibility of the involved technologies but also their adoption by daily users, and to prepare tomorrow's world.

A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle uses Toyota’s full hybrid technology, with the added benefit that its battery can be recharged using a standard electrical plug. Toyota's PHV is “the best of both worlds”: for short distances, it can be driven as an electric vehicle, resulting in a silent, zero CO2 emissions drive. For longer distances, the PHV works as a conventional hybrid vehicle, providing all the benefits of Toyota's full hybrid technology, including low emissions and fuel consumption, and excellent driving performance.

Toyota expects the PHV to bring unsurpassed fuel efficiency and therefore record low emissions – as compared to any other mass-market vehicle on roads today. Based on the third generation Prius, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with a lithium-ion battery and emits only 59g CO2 per km in the New European Driving Cycle (1).

During a handover ceremony held on 18 March at the Paris City Hall, Michel Gardel, Toyota Motor Europe Vice-President for External and Environmental Affairs said: "The Plug-in Hybrid technology is an essential part of strategy towards sustainable mobility.

Based on Toyota's full hybrid technology, the PHV represents the most pragmatic solution to increase the use of electric energy in personal transport today."While handing over the keys of the three PHVs, Daniele Schillaci, President of Toyota France, insisted on the importance of this demonstration programme in real-life conditions: "Before introducing the PHV on the market, we want to thoroughly study the perceptions of users, and the possible use within private and public institutions. Therefore, we are extremely pleased with this new partnership with the Paris City Office. We expect to get valuable insights for the future development of our PHV technology."

Igor Czerny, EDF Director for Electric Transport and Vehicles, said: "We intend to leverage EDF's innovation for the development of the electric vehicle and of sustainable low-carbon mobility. Together with Toyota, EDF is pleased to integrate the City of Paris in this project which is part of the world's largest demonstration of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles and their dedicated charging infrastructure."

The partnership with the City of Paris fits into the mobility plan of the Parisian authorities. The objective of this plan is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses generated by the city through the use of environmentally-friendly transportation methods. Several actions are considered, such as diversifying and improving public transport offer (trams, etc), extending the use of 'soft' transport modes (network of cycle paths ...) and developing electric mobility (electric mopeds, electric bikes, Autolib'...).

The City of Paris also aims to improve the municipal fleet which already includes 44 hybrid cars (petrol electric) thus saving more than one ton of CO2 each year per vehicle.


(1) CO2 emissions of Prius Plug-in Hybrid are measured according to the new official international regulation for plug-in hybrid electric powertrains, as adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.